Battleship Potemkin (1925)

Battleship Potemkin
Directed by Sergei M. Eisenstein
Written by Nina Agadzhanova
(number 322)

Well. Isn’t this a cheery subject for a film? A Soviet film retelling the mutiny on a battleship and the ensuing rioting and police massacre that followed? Yeah, just the kind of thing I want to sit back and relax in front of. Good lord. You can hardly blame the men for not wanting to eat maggoty meat…

Ah yes, just read a little bit more about this and of course it’s a pro-revolution propaganda film. That makes sense, and speaks to it’s cultural and historical significance. Perhaps it’s watching this almost one hundred years later but it’s all kind of on the nose message wise. For example, the drawn out sequence of the baby in peril – like, we get it. The bad guys shoot at the woman protecting a baby, we don’t need to see it’s pram rolling down the stairs over five minutes.

What is impressive about this movie is the co-ordination of the extras. The huge amount of people moving through the streets of Odessa, the complete synchronisation of the cossacks and the way they move together. The scenes on the ship were also very complex, so I’m sure hard to manage and direct as well. All on location and basically no special effects, although the ghosty shapes hanging from the yardarm. It’s well made, it’s beautiful, but overall I didn’t enjoy how violent it is.

Does it make me love the people? I mean, I cared about Grigory, but then he died. So, I’d say no.

Bechdel test: no

Best line:
Woman Protestor: Mothers and brothers! Let there not be differences or hostility among us!

State of Mind: Yeah, I’m not gonna watch this again. It’s impressive and rough and awful. Hey, at least it was short!

Watched movie count

Rebecca (1940)

Rebecca
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Written by Robert E. Sherwood Joan Harrison and based on the novel by Daphne du Maurier
(number 326)

I had wondered if I’d watched this movie previously. In my mid-twenties I tried to get through as many Hitchcock films as possible, hiring them for free from the library I worked out. But I mustn’t have got to this one as it’s all totally new. A delightful Gothic horror of a romance starring one of Hitchcock’s blondes which if this movie was remade now I think Taylor Swift would be the best match for.

I feel like I could count the number of Laurence Olivier films I’ve seen on one hand and wouldn’t even need to use my thumb. And I think the others are off this list! He is very dashing in the 30s – 40s way.

This is a gripping story, it makes me want to read the book. It’s a lush Gothic mystery and very much put me in the mind of Beauty and the Beast with Belle in the enchanted castle, and also Bluebeard’s Bride for the ghost of the women who came before. I haven’t played the game of Bluebeard’s Bride but from what Anna told me the servants were out to get the bride in a similar way to this movie.

It really is compelling – spooky, mysterious and at times very funny.

Does it make me love the people? You do feel for Mrs de Winter, isolated as a fish out of water in a strange land. I couldn’t understand why she didn’t go for the breakfast buffet though. I’d never pass up a breakfast buffet. But seriously, you really feel for her while all the madness happens around her. Mrs Danvers in particular…

Bechdel test: I thought it did straight away but it’s tricksy. Joan Fontaine’s character is not named until she marries Maxim de Winter, and then she becomes Mrs de Winter. She talks to Edith and Mrs Danvers. I’d say it’s a pass as the naming is deliberate to serve the story and the obsession everyone has with Rebecca. (It’s also in the novel, she’s got no christian name.) She also talks to Beatrice on several occasions.

Best line:
Maxim: I’m asking you to marry me, you little fool.

Beatrice: Oh, but you can’t go by me. I can tell by your clothes you don’t give a hoot how you look.

Maxim (king of emo): Happiness is something I know nothing about.

State of Mind: Blown away. It was a long movie but it didn’t feel it, so many twists and turns and characters who were compelling and played to perfection by classic actors. Loved it and will definitely watch it again, and am now planning to read the book even. In fact I keep thinking about it, and I’ve also been having a nightmare or two about wandering through a fancy and empty house all alone. I really want to watch it again with Anna.

Watched movie count

Baby quilt for old friends

Flashback craft… Sadly the only photo I seem to have of this one is it incomplete… but you get the idea 🙂

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I’ve known the mama of this baby since third form, so… 1993. I met the papa in university (around the 1999 – 2000 area) and I introduced them. When I heard they were expecting a baby I thought back to the sorts of colours I remember her liking and went from there.

The pattern is made up of pinwheel, double square and double pinwheel blocks, because apparently I was feeling the doubles. Particularly fond of the Where the Wild Things Are and expressive cat fabrics I used in the border. The back is made up of Very Hungry Caterpillar fabrics.

The Last Seduction (1994)

The Last Seduction
Directed by John Dahl
Written by Steve Barancik
(number 331)

Another movie about slick criminals being all sexy and stylish and cool. (Do they all have the same soundtrack BTW?)

Perhaps unsurprisingly for the name, there is a lot of sex in this movie. There are lots of naked bodies, breasts, butts (male and female) and bodies moving together in the sexy sexy sex scene way. it’s very much in the vein of Fatal Attraction, shoulder pads and power suits and all.

Linda Florentino is fantastic as Bridget but I do wonder how a story like this would go if a woman wrote it, how they’d change how Bridget acts or talks. I mean, using sex as a weapon is absolutely legit, but I wonder if that’s all a character would do if written by a woman. I don’t think I would write a woman who only used sex to make men do what she wanted. This kind of character becomes something of a wet dream – this ball buster woman who sleeps with men at the drop of a hat, and then betrays them while looking cool and hot and it’s not their fault because every other guy around also wants her so bad. It’s like the opposite of the manic pixie dream girl except she’s the one who falls for the boy and possibly it changes her life? The cool hard dream vamp? The femme fatale that can be won over by a sweet country boy.

I do love the ingeniousness of the grifts she comes up with though. And when she tells Mike that the way to show commitment to their relationship is to knock someone off.

Oh hey, a mention of a trans person. The trans person is used as a worst case scenario for the good old boy who accidentally married her and then hated himself, refused to let her touch him. So that’s fun. At least Trish has some lines and isn’t killed, just showed as this horrible thing that happened to him. :/

Does it make me love the people? I mean, sure. Bridget’s great. She’s much more compelling to watch than George Clooney’s thief in Out of Sight. I liked it when she took cookies to the guy surveilling her. But ultimately my liking her felt like another of her scams. She’s pretty clearly a cold hearted sociopath who will calmly kill people in her way. I fell for her cool attractiveness as a character just as the men in the film do. Having seen the whole movie I don’t feel like this is the kind of movie which makes you love people.

Bechdel test: Hard. Bridget speaks to Mrs Renford about having cheating husbands killed, but we only get Bridget’s side of the conversation and never see Mrs Renford. I think probably this is a fail. Bridget pretty much only appears in scenes with men. OH, in Buffalo she exchanges words with Trish. That counts.

Best line:

Mike: I’m trying to figure out whether you’re a total fucking bitch or not.
Bridget: I am a total fucking bitch.

Bridget: I’ll show you my ass.
Harlan: What makes you think I wanna see your bony ass?

State of Mind: Slick and cool, just as it wanted to be. A little more interesting than the other slick cool crime films I’ve watched on this list. Hard to say if it’s one I’d particularly recommend or watch again. I don’t know. I don’t know. It’s pretty rough, it felt a lot like Fatal Attraction if it was passed off as a cool crime movie.

Watched movie count

Arm rest sewing caddy thing – Sunday crafting

For a while now I’ve been mistreating our couch, sticking pins in the arm rest, losing threads down the side of the cushions, always misplacing my scissors. It’s been a bit rough on some of our guests too… danger couch D:

Anyway I saw a bunch of these over the arm sewing caddies on pinterest. None were quite what I was after so I made up my own. No patterning or mock ups, just seat of the pants sewing and decisions as I went. It look me a couple of hours and everything is from my fabric/notions stash!

Here it is in action! Red starry fabric is leftovers from Anna’s classroom cushions project. The pale fabric with cats on is from an Ali Express order a while back, and the pincushion is made of scraps and selveges and stuffed with edges of batting cut off a quilt and some stuffing. I did one long pocket on the me facing side and divided it into four thread and scissors sized pockets.

On the overhang/non me facing side I added another pocket for balance, which turns out to be great size for the little chocolate tin I keep my safety pins in and a notebook can be stashed in there too.

I sewed some ribbon bits into the seams of the main piece and on the corners of the pincushion so I could tie it on, don’t want it falling off every five minutes after all. I added a little ribbon loop as well, as I always seem to be looking to hang things off the arm rest as well.

I sewed all the details and things to the red fabric and then backed it with a colour-in heavy drill style fabric Giffy got me at Ikea years ago. It’s good, because it’s heavy and grippy. I sewed them right sides together, turned it right way round and did top stitching over both layers to secure it. I’m super happy with the result, especially how quick it was, and am now looking at it wondering what else I could add… maybe a little fabric box behind the pincushion…

Extra soft cat bed

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When we got a cat, at the end of last year, I wanted to make sure she had a place of her own to sleep. The cat beds in the pet store were really, really expensive. I went through my fabric stash and found some extra soft polar fleece, some old extra long socks and whipped up this snuggly bed in a couple hours with a bunch of stuffing. Mochi was enamoured and used it devotedly for a while. Up until she decided there were better beds… But she’s back on it now, so hey, swings and roundabouts.

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Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

Sweet Smell of Success
Directed by Alexander Mackendrick
Written by Clifford Odets and Ernest Lehman based on the novel by Ernest Lehman
(number 323)

This movie is exactly like reading an old pulp Noir novel, which makes sense since it’s based on an old pulp Noir novel. All the pretty metaphors and similes that people just drop in every conversation. So clever, so cool. Everyone wearing hats and cool, long coats.

It’s also beautifully shot, the lines ad the costumes and the sets, it’s all gorgeous in black and white. Very clear and pretty.

We’re all JJ when he says “President? My big toe would make a better President!”

I watched this on a Monday night when Anna was out, and weirdly, our cat Mochi seemed very into it. Of all the tv and movies I’ve watched with the cat she’s paid very little attention. This one she sat up in front of and watched for a bit. When she was on the couch with me washing, she’d look over when there was a sudden noise (which she doesn’t usually do). So I guess this movie is cat approved?

Does it make me love the people? Like, kind of. I kind of loved Sidney although he’s completely unscrupulous and unfaithful but he’s still the protagonist and very smooth. I enjoy watching and listening to him. I don’t like JJ but I feel for Susie, she seems like mostly an innocent victim in the machinations of the others. I did like it when she slammed Sidney’s fingers in the door of a cab as she ran from him. Good work, Suse!

Susie and Steve’s romance is quite convincing as well, Steve himself is a little on the wooden side but I believe that they care about each other and are upset when they break up.

Bechdel test: No, there’s a tonne of women and named ones, but they all exist as the only woman in any given scene.

Best lines:

“Turn the record over, Sidney. I’m bored. like most of the human race I’m bored. I’d go a mile for a chuckle.”

Sidney: He thinks J.J.’s some kind of a monster…
Susan: Don’t you?
Sidney: Susie, J.J. happens to be one of my very best friends!
Susan: I know. But someday I’d like to look into your clever little mind and see what you really think of him.
Sidney: Where do you come off, making a remark like that?
Susan: Who could love a man who makes you jump through burning hoops like a trained poodle?

JJ: People tell me I’m a very talented man, but I still can’t see around corners.

Sidney: a bed is the best friend a girl ever had.

State of Mind: Yeah, I enjoyed this for what it is. It sort of made me want to read the pulp novel I bought in L.A. again. But I don’t know if it was enough fun, or engaging enough to watch again. Nice twisty plot at the end there, for something which was relatively straightforward.

Watched movie count